Hartselle Farmers Market returns for 2021
By Erin Elledge Burleson
Hartselle Farmers Market manager
So far this January, we have spent our cold days dreaming about all the delicious locally grown produce, beautiful handmade crafts and scrumptious baked goods that will fill our warm Saturday morning markets.
We’ve been planning for our 2021 market season, creating new ways to grow our market this year and reminiscing about the growth we’ve seen the past two years.
This will be the third year Hartselle Parks and Recreation has run the Hartselle Farmers Market, and since 2019 we have seen tremendous progress.
In 2019 we began the season strong with brand new tables built by Hartselle High School’s agriculture students from wood donated by Corum’s Building Center. The new tables really enhanced the overall appearance of the market, and having them built by our students helped with our mission to connect our city to its local farmers and support our local economy by shopping small.
We started that season in June with few vendors. Slowly, as the weather warmed up, we reached the peak of the first year in late July with several farmers coming on Saturdays consistently.
The year 2020 started out rough with the pandemic shutdown, and we weren’t sure what to expect at the market; however, despite all of our doubts and fears, the market soared to new heights, starting the season a month earlier than expected. The Morgan County Master Gardeners kicked off the year in May 2020 around Mother’s Day for the first time ever, with an assortment of plants from their greenhouses.
The Saturday markets quickly filled with familiar faces. All of our farmers returned, including some new exciting businesses like Tennessee Valley Natives based right here in Hartselle. They focus on plants that thrive in our climate and attract beneficial native insects.
Last July we celebrated a milestone as our market filled with venders, and every single table was full.
We learned one of the benefits of having an open-air market is that it is safer; there is plenty of room to remain socially distanced.
The installation of shade cloths on the east side of the market was a major upgrade, and the vendors were all pleased to have protection from the sun.
We started hosting our first children’s activities this past year, and those were a huge hit. While parents shopped around, children were entertained making recycled bird feeders, painting butterflies and doing many other crafts.
It was a year full of growth.
We use Facebook and Instagram to promote our Saturday markets, so be sure to look there for information in the future.
Our hope is that more and more vendors continue to come to our market. We welcome any new farmers, growers, bakers or crafters looking to thrive in our community.
Our dream is that our customers can come out, socialize and shop for a large variety of products.
We would like to thank every single person who has come to our market over the past two years. We genuinely appreciate you for your support and patience in this time of new beginnings and growth.
We are blessed to have so many loyal shoppers who show up early to get tomatoes from their favorite farmers, flowers for their significant others, their favorite jams and jellies and even bread for the week.
Our farmers work so hard to grow the best produce possible, and it feels amazing to leave the market knowing your hard work not only paid off but provided your neighbors with nourishment as well.
That’s what the farmers market is all about.